I am always rather bemused when people have owning their own home as an aspiration.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it but I always much preferred renting.
I liked the notion that if I wanted a change of location, I could do so with just 4 weeks notice, mostly I liked the fact that if ANYTHING went wrong in the house I didn’t have to pay to get it fixed.
Blown boiler, leaky roof, heating broken? Just call the landlord and like magic, they get it fixed without me having to pay thousands! Renting is just so easy BUT there are certain things you need to bear in mind before venturing down this path.
Top tips for first time tenants
Deposit Granted, this is cheaper than the £20,000 deposit you need to buy a house but it’s still a fair chunk. Upfront you will need a deposit (usually 4-6 weeks rent), the first months rent and admins fees. You may also be charged for credit checks and reference checks.
Tenancy deposit scheme Your landlord must, by law, place your deposit into a tenancy deposit scheme, if they don’t assume they’re dodgy and run like the wind. Once your tenancy is up you will be sent a form to claim it back. On the one hand, this is really useful as it means the landlord can only withhold your deposit with very good reason. On the other hand, it means you need to raise ALL that money again before you can move into a new rental.
Inventory Ideally, you’ll be given a checklist by your landlord. Go around the house checking everything, make a note of any issues to pass on to your landlord right away and take photos as well so you can prove you’re leaving the place as you found it.
Length of tenancy Make sure you know how long your tenancy will last before you sign. You don’t want to move in then discover you’ll be shipped out again in six months time. Also check out the notice you must give your landlord if you decide to move and the notice they must give you.
Check the small print I know it sounds like a no brainer but read EVERYTHING. Your contract will not only advise on whether you’re allowed pets but some also state there is to be no smoking by anyone in the property. It may also include rules on parties, house guests, parking and even washing lines!
Insurance Whether you are renting a furnished or unfurnished property, you will need contents insurance. You’d be surprised at how much your CD collection is actually worth! Do people even have CDs anymore? Your landlord will have purchase landlords insurance from HomeLet or somewhere similar to cover the building and any furnishings provided with the property.
Scope out the local area If possible, visit an area a few times at different times of the day. Try not to look too suspicious as you check out your neighbours and the neighbourhood. If you have a young family, you don’t want to discover you’ve moved into the middle of lots of student houses (trust me, you really don’t), but you DO want to research schools in the area. Take time to suss out what facilities are nearby and what public transport serves the area. You don’t want to move into a home to discover your new neighbour has a Hound of the Baskervilles and there isn’t a shop nearby to buy to wine to drown your woes!